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5 Questions Professional Relationship Builders Ask To Connect With Anybody (And Move Beyond Chit-Chatting)

5 Questions Professional Relationship Builders Ask To Connect With Anybody (And Move Beyond Chit-Chatting)

Building relationships is important to all aspects of our lives, both inside and outside of the workplace. The ability to build meaningful relationships with others is important for a variety of reasons, and in today’s environment you cannot just sit back and hope others will simply approach you. You need to be proactive, attend social events, swap contact information, and network to get to where you want to be.

Depending upon your personality type, the types of questions to ask when you first meet someone and wish to build a relationship with them may vary. However, there are a few areas that should be covered in your conversation so that you can have a meaningful discussion and get to know the other person on a deeper level. This recent article by Business Insider highlights some successful networking strategies that include the importance of getting to know the other person and finding common ground.

How do you make the transition from casual chatting to actually building a relationship with someone? Here are five questions to help you get started:

What inspired you to pursue this area of business?

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Finding out what inspired someone to pursue a particular area of business provides insight into his or her goals, interests, and passions. Chances are this person is working in their career field because it is what they love or have always wanted to do. Asking this question will help you to take a deeper look into their motivation.

Talking about inspiration in business is becoming more and more common. In fact, LinkedIn has a whole series titled “What Inspires Me” that taps into the motivation that keeps LinkedIn Influencers going. I am very passionate about my business and love talking about how I got started. I enjoy connecting with other individuals who are entrepreneurs and talking about their story as well. It helps to build a common ground between us.

What are your hobbies?

This is a simple, yet important question to ask when getting to know another person. Having information about their hobbies provides insight into their life outside of the office. You might also learn about a shared hobby or connection with your new contact. While it’s important to understand another individual’s work goals and motivations, learning about their personal interests provides an opportunity for relaxed conversation over a topic that they will be willing to open up about. In my experience, I have found that discussing hobbies with another individual is a great way to build a deeper connection with them. Often times you will learn of a shared hobby or skill, and this will create an opportunity for a stronger conversation. In addition to this, some people are lucky enough to turn their hobby into a job.

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Did you find someone who enjoys golf as much as you do? Invite them out to play a round of golf and continue the conversation during this time. You never know what this outing may lead to.

What is the biggest challenge you face in business?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the other person’s problems. No matter where you are or what your line of business, you will face challenges both big and small. According to an article in Entrepreneur, growing revenue, hiring employees, and increasing profit are all challenges for businesses, and many entrepreneurs, including myself, agree with this.

Talking about challenges creates common ground in business. For example, the individual you are talking to may have a hard time finding the right employees, and perhaps you have a tip that can help them. Maybe you can provide a solution to their situation or refer them to someone who can help. This teaches that person that you are someone they can trust, which will help them open up to you later.

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What is the area of your business that you are focused on expanding?

Often times, the end goal of building relationships in business is to form a mutually beneficial partnership and provide one another with leads, customers, and potential partners. Because of this, understanding the goals of the person you are talking to is critical. What do they want? Who is their target partner? What are their ideas for expanding their business?

I have specific areas of my business and services that I am focused on expanding in both the near future and within the next few years, and I know everyone has something they would like to improve and grow in their career. Every business should have a plan in place for growth – finding out theirs is simply a matter of engaging in a meaningful conversation and getting to the bottom of their long-term goals and desires.

What is the one legacy you would like to leave behind?

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This question provides an opportunity for a work connection and personal connection. Asking this question will give you the chance to see what is truly important to the person you are talking to, and I think this is highly necessary for building a successful relationship with someone. No matter who you are or where you are in life, everyone has a legacy that they would like to leave behind. What is yours and how do you plan on achieving it?

These conversation starters will help provide you with information about another person’s desires, motivation, and future goals and will allow you to form a deeper relationship and connection with them. When striking up conversation with the other person and asking questions that build a trusting relationship, it is important to remember not to be distracted. Separate yourself from technology or any other barriers so you can truly be in the moment and get to know the other individual.

Featured photo credit: Photo Credit: www.flazingo.com via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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